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Hey Fishlips......................Do you know if this is true?

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jw

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Master Bullshitter
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Someone sent this to me in an email Fishlips and since you are a Catholic I thought you might know if it's true.

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.

What in the world do leaping lords, French hens,

swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out

of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.'

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone


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fishlipsmcgee

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I have received that e-mail also throughout the past few years. I never knew if it was true or just an urban legend. It is not something taught to you as a child or talked about in church. This is what I found researching it.

"Yes, it is historically true that this old Christmas Carol was a means of catechesis for little British Catholic children when being a Catholic, especially a priest, was extremely perilous. There isn't any good historical reference to authenticate it"

So I guess we will never know it there is any real truth to it. I had heard that the children's song Ring Around The Rosy was about the black plague. Anyone else hear that?

Back to the 12 Days of Christmas. The 12 days are actually the 12 days from Christmas on Dec. 25 until Epiphany, when the wise men arrived which the church celebrates on Jan. 6. The Christmas season in the church goes from December 25 until the Sunday following Epiphany on which day we celebrate "The Baptism of the Lord" which marks one of the early manifestations of Jesus' identiy and at the same time marks the beginning of his public ministry. So it marks a turning point from Jesus' private life to his public life.

If you go into a Catholic church now you will not see any Christmas decorations until Christmas Day (or the vigil mass on Christmas Eve evening) nor do we sing Christmas hyms yet. We do sing Advent songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBfPnUZh-Bc a song that everyone knows. (I like this version because it shows the words.) We are now celebrating Advent, in anticipation the comming of the Savior on Dec. 25. The Christmas flowers/decorations will remain on the altar and we will sing Christmas hyms from Christmas Day until the end of the Christmas season which this year I believe is Jan. 10th. So that is how we celebrate the Christmas season according to the Catholic calendar. There really are a 12 days of Christmas but I don't kow for sure if the words to the song have the hidden meanings.


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fishlipsmcgee

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Here is a "expanded" version of what you posted, JW. Again, I don't know if there was real symbolism intended when the song was written or if it is something that someone made up years after.


1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13) .

4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.

7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments

11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

12th Day: The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.


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Esther


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I also heard that explanation several years ago. Many of the nursery rhymes have hidden meanings. I googled "nursery rhyme meanings and found several sites with origins. Here is one.

http://www.rhymes.org.uk/


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jw

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Master Bullshitter
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fishlipsmcgee wrote:I have received that e-mail also throughout the past few years. I never knew if it was true or just an urban legend. It is not something taught to you as a child or talked about in church. This is what I found researching it.

"Yes, it is historically true that this old Christmas Carol was a means of catechesis for little British Catholic children when being a Catholic, especially a priest, was extremely perilous. There isn't any good historical reference to authenticate it"

So I guess we will never know it there is any real truth to it. I had heard that the children's song Ring Around The Rosy was about the black plague. Anyone else hear that?

Back to the 12 Days of Christmas. The 12 days are actually the 12 days from Christmas on Dec. 25 until Epiphany, when the wise men arrived which the church celebrates on Jan. 6. The Christmas season in the church goes from December 25 until the Sunday following Epiphany on which day we celebrate "The Baptism of the Lord" which marks one of the early manifestations of Jesus' identiy and at the same time marks the beginning of his public ministry. So it marks a turning point from Jesus' private life to his public life.

If you go into a Catholic church now you will not see any Christmas decorations until Christmas Day (or the vigil mass on Christmas Eve evening) nor do we sing Christmas hyms yet. We do sing Advent songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBfPnUZh-Bc a song that everyone knows. (I like this version because it shows the words.) We are now celebrating Advent, in anticipation the comming of the Savior on Dec. 25. The Christmas flowers/decorations will remain on the altar and we will sing Christmas hyms from Christmas Day until the end of the Christmas season which this year I believe is Jan. 10th. So that is how we celebrate the Christmas season according to the Catholic calendar. There really are a 12 days of Christmas but I don't kow for sure if the words to the song have the hidden meanings.

Thanks Fishlips, and I guess we will never know but it is rather interesting and I have heard about the Ring Around the Rosie song being connected w/ the bubonic plague. My neighbor across the road is Ukrainian (born here in the U.S)and she and her family celebrate through Jan. 7th. Lots of interesting ways that people of all nations celebrate differently and why.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night............well a good day right now anyway :[IMG]/xtree.gi


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fishlipsmcgee

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Jabberjaws
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Here's a rather unique version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSedhEoutP0


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jw

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Master Bullshitter
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Yep it's definitely different and I think I'll stick w/ the original myself ex[giggle]


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